IsDB Group Chairman Addresses 37th COMCEC Ministerial Session in Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey, 24 November 2021 – President of the Islamic Development Bank and Chairman of the IsDB Group, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, said infrastructure and sustainable human development should be the focus of development priorities to secure well-being and resilience.

Dr. Al Jasser made the remarks in Istanbul on 24 November 2021 while addressing the 37th Ministerial Session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC), held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who also chairs the COMCEC Committee.

The IsDB Group Chairman said the Bank has embarked upon a strategic realignment towards i) boosting recovery from the pandemic, ii) tackling poverty and building resilience, and iii) helping drive a green economic growth agenda based on the outcomes of the IsDB Governors' Roundtable.

"The infrastructure that we build must focus on bridging two significant gaps: the digital divide and the vaccination divide, strengthening access to health and education and restoring dignity and opportunity. Human capital development should also be given prominence. Building resilience and tackling extreme poverty cannot be approached without adequate human capital. Substantial investment in quality education and universal health services will unlock the critical constraints hindering growth and jeopardizing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals," he told the 37th COMCEC Ministerial Meeting.

"I am pleased to report that despite the challenging years, the three major international rating agencies, Standard and Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch, have reaffirmed IsDB's 'AAA' rating with a stable outlook," he said, adding that the Bank had succeeded in securing public and private Sukuk issuances. He stressed that maintaining the highest possible credit rating for more than a decade is a clear testimony to the shareholders' support and the Bank's prudent fiscal management.

The IsDB Group Chairman called on IsDB member countries that have not announced their subscription to the sixth increase in IsDB's capital to do so to support the Bank's mission and maintain its significant rating.

He also stated that the IsDB Group continues to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through various programs as part of its recovery efforts. He pointed out that about 93 percent of the US$ 561-million project approvals for the year by IsDB Group's private sector development arm (ICD) has directly benefitted SMEs in member states.

"The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation has provided US$ 604.7 million worth of support to member countries under the IsDB Group's COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Program. US$ 266.4 million of this support has been allocated to small- and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the ITFC has also committed US$ 750 million in additional financing for the benefit of member states as part of the recovery phase," Dr. Al Jasser stated.

He concluded by reiterating that IsDB Group will continue to engage with COMCEC and OIC institutions to reinforce development efforts and support a fast and robust recovery in member countries through inclusive, resilient, and balanced economic transformations. He underlined that the Bank would exert efforts in the coming months to collectively pave the way for sustainable growth during the post-COVID-19 era in light of its ongoing new strategic realignment exercise.

Ministers of finance and economy and high-ranking officials of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) attended the two-day COMCEC Ministerial Session, the main multilateral economic and commercial cooperation platform of the Islamic world.